by Diana Álvarez
The only thing we need to get sick is to be healthy. That day comes when someone tells you your kidney function is insufficient. The best you can do is to get an organ transplant before you reach a stage when you will need dialysis. But you still feel good and do not pay attention to the physician’s recommendations; you become careless.
As the disease advances in silence, it starts killing you slowly. Then you start feeling weak and tired; you lose your appetite and your ability to breath normally; your lungs are now filled with fluid.
By a higher miracle, you find yourself in a foreign country, and the locals treat you as if you were at home. I woke up in that cold hospital ICU in Chile, in the midst of the sounds of medical devices to which you are now connected by dozens of multicolor cables.
By a higher miracle, you wake up in a foreign country, and the locals treat you as if you were at home.
It takes you a while to suck it all in, but you feel the tender hands of your caregiver caressing your hair and whispering to your ears: “You just had your first dialysis.” For an eternal moment, you mind goes blank and you can’t recall what happened in the las 36 hours. The only thing that you manage to think is: “Thank God, I am alive.” Even though you know your life is hanging by a thread.
Months go by. You have a sacred appointment, three times a week, with a machine that gets to do for you what your body stopped doing; this is your ritual with life itself. Many days go by to complete the pre-transplant protocol, and you wait for three and a half months to receive a kidney from a deceased donor you never met.
Suddenly, the phone rings and you receive that phone call that you were desperate to receive; At last! It is your chance!
You show yourself sharp at the scheduled time with a hope-filled luggage case.
You pray to the heavens that your body accepts the most wonderful of gifts. The gift from an anonymous family that, amid their lost and most profound pain, decided to put aside their selfishness and so many false beliefs, to give you a second chance at life. They do not know you, but they bless you anyways.
The outcome is better than anyone predicted. Your eyes shine again. You recover your energies. You smile and laugh way more than you used to just prior. The time you used for your sacred appointment, is now free to share it with your loved ones. You make every minute of your life count, doing things you never thought you were not going to be able to do again, and many more, new to you. You take care of that life-giving treasure inside you; you make it part of you. Your appointment is now with life itself.
Your appointment is now with life itself.
Organ donation does not only change the lifestyle of the recipient but also the lives of those around her. We must become aware of its importance. You will never know when you, or someone in your family, or someone you love, will need a transplant.
Organ donation does not only change the lifestyle of the recipient but also the lives of those around her.
Take some time now and talk to your family about it. We can save many more lives with your help.
How do I know? My name is Diana Alvarez, I am 35 and got a kidney transplant three years ago. I live happily married with my best friend, and I am a living testimony that the struggles in life make you stronger.
Today you did it for me. Tomorrow we will do it for you.